Author Archives: Kevin

About Kevin

Kevin Sudeith is an artist and the creator and curator of the war rug collection seen on Beginning as (and remaining) a collector, he began selling war rugs to learn as much as possible about the rugs. Later he sold what he calls "regular rugs" to better study rugs and their historical origins. Sudeith learned how war rugs related to traditional Afghan tribal and workshop rugs as well as the broader Turkmen and Persian rug traditions.

Iran Map Showing Provinces, Landmarks, and Flags

Here is a map rug reminiscent of the early Iraq maps especially this great beauty of a silk iraq rug (more info about province rugs like these Iraq rugs or these Iraq rugs from 2003 or these map rugs with and without provinces), but this rug is apparently Iranian. It shows Iran with its provinces outlined and colored like the Iraq rugs (and Afghan map rugs). The oil wells in Iraq are a nice touch. If only Nigel Lendon were here to discuss this.

A friend is selling this rug so contact Warrug for the details.

Warp Depression a.k.a. “Double Knotted” rugs

The most confounding concept in rugs is “warp depression”, so I created a structures page with a bunch of annotated photos to explain it and give suggestions.

Before a rug is woven the warps are strung on the loom, and the warps can be made to lay in one plane, side by side. But warps can also sit on two planes where they alternate. Here is a rough diagram.

This post began in 2017 when I saw this cut rug revealing warps on two planes.

Here are some examples:

No warp depression:

Rug 779 Herat Friday Mosque with Armored Column

Minimal warp depression, offset by 20-30 degrees:

Rug #464 Bright Color Landscape Rug

Moderate warp depression, offset by 45-60 degrees, corduroy texture

Rug #925 Baleschet Saddle Bag with Motorcycle

Also, medium warp depression, offset by 45-60 degrees, with pronounced corduroy texture

Rug #1614 Classic White Background Amman Ullah Khan Rug

Full warp depression, a.k.a. “double knotted”, where the second warp is buried in the rug’s foundation:

Rug #1105: B-52 Medallions with Cluster Bombs and MRE’s

If this post clarifies warp depression, or if it just raises more questions, please let me know.

19th Century Daghestani Prayer Rug for Sale

This is not the focus of, but twenty years ago we picked up this rug, and now it is time to downsize.

The details are in the link: Rug #2122, Antique Daghestan Prayer Rug. The price is $3,500, so contact us if you are interested in purchase, and we will send a PayPal invoice.

The design of this rug is not typical of the type, and the pattern conveys a special sensibility. The figure, represented by the pattern inside the mihrab, is the same as the world, represented by the same lattice pattern outside the mihrab. The part that is different is where the prayers go up from the figure, and the lattice breaks down to series of small dreamy motifs.

Luca Emilio Brancati’s uniquely important collection

My understanding is that Luca Emilio Brancati collected war rugs from 1984 until 1987 exclusively. Thanks to Nigel Lendon, I saw a few photos over the years, but documentation of Brancati’s important 2018 exhibition at the gallery in the Palazzo Lascaris in Turin, Italy, was the first time good photos were published on the internet.

More rare photos are here, and on this FB post, and press coverage is here, and an announcement is here.

Brancati’s pinterest has lots of interesting war rug photos.

Interesting youtube video

In Brancati’s new book with Amedeo Vittorio Bedini the photos alone are surely worth the thirty-four Euros.

Brancati’s last book was also a fascinating subject. Published in 1999 it seems to be out of print, but The Carpets of the Painters (or I Tappeti dei Pittori), analyzes rugs shown in old paintings.

Jamal Elias ‘ Real story behind Afghanistan’s war rugs’

University of Pennsylvania professor of Religion, Jamal Elias is an expert on visual language and material culture in the Islamic world. His book “On Wings of Diesel” is beautiful. Professor Elias has written an interesting and challenging story about war rugs which was picked up by by Fast Company , and Newsweek Japan. Professor Elias’s perspective is novel and refreshing.

A critique of war rugs presenting new perspective is appreciated, and Elias work on identity gives him a good perspective. His points about market influences are compelling, but a couple of points deserve some push-back.

There is evidence of precursor war rugs predating the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan, for example the Tabriz biplane rug in Canada’s Textile Museum collection (photo unavailable), Soviet propaganda rugs featuring Joseph Stalin, and Turkish rugs showing military aircraft.

I agree the earliest customers seem to have been NGO workers in Pakistan (and people in Boetti’s realm), and Elias characterization of the earliest rugs as ” small and shoddily made with coarse wool” may be true of early AK-47 rugs, but Luca Emilio Brancati’s exhibition in 2018 in Turin demonstrates the special beauty, idiosyncrasy, and quality of early war rugs. Photos of Brancati’s rugs are here. His collection serves as a time capsule, for it was collected exclusively between 1984 and 1987. Brancati’s collection shows the sophistication of both the form and content in even very early war rugs.

The writing on some rugs declares that they’re made in Sheberghan, a city in northern Afghanistan famous for its Turkmen weavers.

It’s unlikely that they’re all made there. However, whether they’re made in northern Afghanistan or in Afghan settlements in Pakistan, the word “Shebergan,” written in English, is supposed to signal that these rugs are authentically Afghan.

Despite similarities with the Soviet Exodus rugs from Pakistan, reports of Turkmen migration in 2002, the inclusion of US propaganda from Afghanistan, and on the ground accounts of rugs found in northern Afghanistan, I remain convinced that WTC, Tora Bora, and other related designs were woven in Afghanistan.

For many years I dealt in regular rugs from Afghanistan, and war rugs from western Afghanistan are consistent, quality wise, with regular rugs from the same areas. Both groups havev rugs which are coarsly woven of poor wool, and gems of lush wool and finely woven ancient designs.

For example here are regular and war rug Latif Khel rugs, and vase of flower rugs, and checkered flower rugs, and two deer rugs where the war rug is much finer than the commercial, regular rug, and vase of flower rugs, and others

Importantly, Elias characterization of the market’s effect is pretty apt. Over the years I have documented the markets influence through a feedback loop. This post documents how a public conversation on Nigel Lendon’s blog lead to a second flush of a design. Since before the 2005 exhibition at the Esso Gallery in New York, < I have been documenting the influence of Alighiero Boetti’s Mappas on pile rugs with world maps. Artsy story about Boetti and war rugs

Important War Rug Show and Book

While writing this I learned of the sad loss of Nigel Lendon, who knew more about war rugs than probably anyone. Thankfully, Nigel Lendon and Tim Bonyhady have mounted an important and excellent exhibition at the Drill Hall Gallery at the Australian National University . To accompany the exhibition Drill Hall Gallery has published the long awaited book by Nigel and Tim, which I recommend highly.

The exhibition has been extended in honor of Nigel Lendon, so get to ANU before November 14 to see special array of war rug. Also, make sure to get Nigel and Tim Bonyhady’s book, which is certain to be an important piece of war rug literature.

Luca Brancati Book!

Im a rare treat and a historic piece of war rug history, Luca Emilio Brancati has published a book. He has a unique and historic collection, so this book promises to be fascinating. It is available here, but American shipping is not yet available.
Order his book here (embed removed to prevent ugly and unwanted javascript from running on our page)

I am super excited to see it, and I expect to learn a great deal. Very exciting!